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Vets across the country ‘struggling to recruit,’ BVA says

Elizabeth Bates | British Veterinary Association

2 min read Partner content

Veterinary practices across the country are struggling to recruit staff, according to new evidence.

The British Veterinary Association has found that recruitment problems are widespread and the majority of practices that had tried to recruit recently had difficulty finding suitable candidates.

The BVA Voice of the Veterinary Profession Survey Spring 2015 also revealed that two thirds of practices looking to recruit in the last year took more than three months to fill their vacancies for veterinary surgeons.

Of these, 10% took more than six months and 7% were forced to withdraw the role because of a lack of suitable candidates.

The problem was particularly severe among small animal practices, where nearly a quarter (23%) saw posts remain empty for more than six months.
A fifth (19%) were eventually forced to withdraw roles. Production animal veterinary roles also proved challenging to fill, with almost a fifth (19%) remaining empty for more than three months.

John Blackwell, President of the British Veterinary Association, said:

“We’ve been hearing a lot about recruitment issues from veterinary practices across the country and I know from experience how challenging it can be to find the right candidate. These figures confirm that anecdotal evidence, showing that many colleagues are struggling to fill posts.

“This is a complicated issue and we suspect there are a range of different factors that converge to create this situation. We know there are many talented and experienced vets out there and yet recruitment remains a challenge for many.

“We believe that issues around out-of-hours requirements, support, work/life balance and flexible working all factor into candidates’ decision not to apply for or accept certain roles. It’s not simply a case of employers offering higher salaries.”

Of those who had advertised a vacancy, nearly a third (32%) had received three or fewer applications per post. They listed difficulties at every stage of the recruitment process:

Simon Devitt, Director of BMJ Careers, said: “This is a difficult recruitment market and we know that some practices are really struggling to recruit vets. At Vet Record Careers we advise recruiters to emphasise the benefits of working for their particular practice; including flexibility, transport, accommodation, training, progression as well as the salary on offer.”

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